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The four pillars

12 September 2021
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Scotland's whiskey regions

SPEYSIDE

From the west of the Spey River (near Kingussie) to Buckie and back north up to near Forres.

Number of single malt distilleries: 50 (approximately).
The Speyside (Strathspey) region is where the majority of Scotch whisky comes from, be it for blends or sold as single malt. It’s a region that offers diversity in style, covering the spectrum from light to robust, sweet to peated, but each one is a flavour bomb.

Staple brands: While the most recognisable would be Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, if you want a meaty Speyside that packs a punch go for Aberlour. The Glenfarclas family casks are phenomenal.

CAMPBELTOWN

At the southern end of the Mull of Kintyre.

Number of single malt distilleries: 3
Once the ‘whisky capital of the world’, the closure of a vast number of distilleries sees only Glengyle (Kilkerran), Springbank and Glen Scotia in production today. Broad yet distinctive in style, the Scots describe the Campbeltown character as being ‘foosty’ – as in musty or earthy.

Staple brands: The most recognisable is Springbank, with its Longrow Red being phenomenal. Glen Scotia Victoriana is excellent and great value for money.

ISLAY

In the southern Inner Hebrides.

Number of single malt distilleries: 9
One of the main islands of the Inner Hebrides, Islay (pronounced eye-la) is known for its heavily peated, smoky whiskies, as well as being the home to some of Scotland’s most famous whiskies – Laphroaig, Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila.

Staple brands: The more discerning palate might want to try a Lagavulin – the distiller’s edition was spectacular.

HIGHLAND

From the Orkney Islands, down to just above Edinburgh and Glasgow, and including six whisky-producing islands – the Orkney Islands, Lewis, Mull, Skye, Jura and Arran.

Number of single malt distilleries: 39
Highland is the biggest whisky-producing region in Scotland, in terms of area. It’s known for a broad range of flavour profiles, which vary between distillery, meaning you can have anything from heavy fruit to light vanilla flavours, and even a hint of salt in coastal blends.

Staple brands: If I could only drink two Highlands, forever, it would be GlenDronach – my favourite, which falls right on the Speyside boundary – and Dalwhinnie.


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